This is going to be a bit long, so most will be below the fold. Few will read it all, but I hope those who do will think a bit, and add to it via rational discourse.
The firestorm underway in regards firearms in the United States is not surprising, nor is it being particularly well thought out. Then again, there are those who hope it is not so, for what is playing out in regards the Second Amendment is but one part of a larger effort.
To that end, much of what we see is emotional and designed to short-circuit rational discourse and normal legislative rules of operation. It is designed to focus on one particular "style" of weapon, demonize it and any who support the right to it, and -- most importantly -- distract from a larger agenda. To examine the big picture, let's look at some of the parts and then put them together.
What happened at Sandy Hook is a tragedy. It is real, it happened, and those who say otherwise need professional help. My heart breaks for those children and their families, and it is filled with pride mixed with sorrow at the stories of the sheepdogs who stepped forth. No greater love...
However, the public narrative is flawed, to be polite, and an examination of facts is warranted.
First, you should view this and read the transcript of a key point that follows:
Partial NBC transcript of the video:
Matt Lauer: Pete Williams, our chief justice correspondent, has got some new information as well, good morning.
Pete Williams: Matt, good morning to you. This continues to be a very complex investigation, and there is a lot of contradictory information out there, but there is some new information this morning from a couple of federal officials and state officials. They say now that there were actually four handguns recovered inside the school. Not just two as we were initially told. Four handguns and apparently only handguns that were taken into the school.
We knew that Adam Lanza... also had an assault-style, AR-15 style rifle that he had taken to the school that was in the car he drove there, his mother's car. But we've been told by several officials that he left that in the car.
So, no "assault weapon"/"assault rifle" was used. Just handguns. Yet, all the debate, sound, and fury are about "assault" weapons.
Right now, I'm not sure anyone has, or can derive, a precise number for the laws currently on the books in regards firearms. To my knowledge, no one has sat down and tallied the number of federal, state, and local laws: if you do know of an authoritative cite, I would love to have it. All sides seem to agree that the number is inexcess of 22,000 laws, rules and regulations with the force of law. I have seen what appear to be good cites for that number being in excess of 43,000.
So, we already have more than 22,000 laws on the books for firearms. It is already known that at least some of these laws worked in the case of Sandy Hook. So, where was the failure because surely someone failed to do their job if such a tragedy took place. We no longer blame the devil, and putting responsibility on the person who committed the crime just won't do and isn't enough. So, the argument goes, who failed? Why wasn't there a law?
Well, there were laws in place and they were enforced. If there was a failure anywhere other than on the part of the person who did the shooting, it was with his mother. At this time, she appears to have legally purchased her firearms. Where she failed was in not properly securing them despite being aware of the threat that was her son. Adam Lanza murdered those children and educators in cold blood, and the responsibility for that rests with him and him alone. His mother failed, possibly on more than one front, and as such bears culpability in the act, but not responsibility.
But, but, but, but sputters a segment of the population, it is the fault of society. America failed here, not the person. It's our violent gun culture, video games, John Wayne, and all these other factors that are to blame, they are responsible. No, no they are not. Society is an artificial construct, at best a gesalt, and not real. This is the subject for another long post, but only individuals can make decisions, act, and be responsible for those actions. Society can and does shape us, but we choose to act.
Again, posts for another day, but I don't blame video games, I don't blame Hollywood, I don't blame television for the shooting. Rather, I don't blame violence in those media for what has happened. Where I do place blame is in a failure of parents to teach ethics of any type to their children (or show such themselves in their daily lives), much less respect for other people and/or creatures. That such a worldview is present in much of the entertainment media extant (and I include MSM in such) is something I can't decide is a symptom or a cause. In some ways, it doesn't matter as it acts to exacerbate the situation.
For now, I will leave it to Larry Coriea (I recommend this to start) Michael Z. Williamson, and others to deal with the pseudo-intellectual load of crap that is much of the screaming (and it is not a discussion or debate). That also applies to the vacuous meme that no citizen/militia can stand up to the current military. For those interested in some solid food for thought on school killings should read this in regards Col. Grossman's take.
For any not conversant with real facts as opposed to feelings, I recommend you start with the origin of the phrase "assault" weapon/rifle, and go from there. The former AWB was and should be known as the scary looking gun ban, as most of it and current pushes did was focus on the cosmetic (and believe me, I could say a lot about how big, black, and scary terrifies so many). The fact is, however, that the AWB appears to have had no effect on crime. The so-called benefits are debatable because if they exist they never rose above the level of "noise" in a statistical sense so can't be proven. Net result, no reduction of crime/violence/whatever came from it. All it did was make many citizens criminals.
Instead, I want to invite you to consider the following. First, understand that gun control in the United States has its origins in racism and bigotry. Consider also who were the first to be disarmed in other countries over the last century-plus: not true enemies of the state, but minorities. In some cases, enemies or potential enemies of the state were mostly minorities of some sort, but having them disarmed made rounding them up and killing them much easier.
Now, an exercise for the student. Make note of the Fordham link above on the origins of gun control, and take a look at when laws began to change on concepts such as "fighting words" and excessive force as applied to self-defense. Do a graph on pushes for gun and related weapons control, and compare that to pushes to limit physical self-defense. Interesting, no?
Also, take a closer look at those gun-free zones. They are, by and large, not just gun free zones. You will note that knives of almost any description are often banned there. Look at what else is banned in so many, from mace to fingernail clippers. Yep, some places still do. Then, take another look at the changes being demanded (not discussed) by those insisting on gun control. What is one common denomenator in every argument (not necessarily the common denomenator)? Professionals. Wait for professionals to respond: the police, state police, FBI, etc. Only professionals should deal with criminals, as others might be hurt (and you might be hurt) if you resist. Give them your wallet, give them your car, let them rape you or your family -- don't resist, you might get hurt.
Now, go back and take a look at when the modern concept of "let them have it, property/etc. is not worth killing someone over" truly took root, and do so comparing to the graphs above. Interesting, no? Also, keep in mind that the killing being referenced is only about killing that poor misunderstood robber/rapist/etc., not the victim. That's just a tragedy to that particular viewpoint. Take a look at the rise of modern laws against physical agression/response/etc. Again, interesting.
It's not just guns. It's not just the wussification of America (the world) as some have called it. There is more. What we have is nothing more or less than a long-term assault on the idea of self-defense. You are not responsible enough, trained enough, etc. to defend yourself -- you must let the experts, the professionals do that. That's okay though, as if you are a victim, you will be taken care of. Oh, and look at how soldiers are portrayed, and are not considered proper experts. Consider the meme of the dangerous veteran...
Take a look, do some research, and think. Look beyond the immediate, and also look around. Look at what is being talked about in regards chef's knives in England (and look at the laws already on the books in regards regular/pocket knives there). Think a bit.
Leave out the gun/knife/etc. It is all about control. If you can and will defend yourself, you can't be controlled.
“Whatever crushes individuality is despotism.” John Stuart Mill
"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there
will be." Lao Tsu
"If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you
will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot,
therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless
and ineffectual." Frank Herbert
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
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